Last Updated on January 3, 2024 by Sarah McCubbin
Creating an easy homeschool portfolio is something any parent can do in only a few minutes a school year. You can create some of it BEFORE the year begins!!
Some states have a testing requirement. Others may give the option of have a portfolio of a learning reviewed and of course some states require none of that!
When we first began homeschooling, we chose to do the portfolio option as testing for a young child seemed unreliable.
When we first started homeschooling, I had no idea what one of these reviews should include…did I need several 3″ binders filled with coloring pages, handwriting worksheets and craft projects. Did I need actual projects…you know that volcano we made or leaves sandwiched between wax paper? What did I need exactly. Well I’m not super organized. I think I lose brain cells by the end of spring…I’m SO READY to be done with school. So my 1st…2nd..3rd…. portfolios were pretty much the same.
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I would throw all their half-finished notebooks, textbooks, folders etc into a tote and haul it off to the library or wherever I was meeting our teacher to “assess” our portfolio. All the while, I was saying a little prayer that they would find our pile of papers acceptable and “pass” us! Now thankfully, the teachers that have reviewed our portfolios have all been homeschool moms themselves..so they get it. They get the mess, disorganization, the whole learning curve that never ends with homeschooling.
I remember going to our first portfolio assessment being SO WORRIED that I didn’t have enough to PROVE that we had homeschooled PROPERLY! Looking back, I can see that I was definitely overly worried. But as a person who likes to be prepared, I’ve now found the balance between being prepared and simplicity.
Table of Contents
5 Quick Steps for an Easy Homeschool Portfolio
If you have a portfolio review coming in quickly, the easiest way to prepare for a portfolio is to grab a crate or box for each child. Inside the box put the following items…
- A writing sample for each child.
- Textbooks for the core subjects
- Workbooks or worksheets they completed
- A book your child can read (if the assessor wants to hear that)
- A list of activities or field trips for the school year.
Now if you have a bit more time and want to put a well organized portfolio together, you can actually create a binder that is a good representation of your year for each child.
The key to keeping it simple is to create your binder at the beginning of the school year so you can add to it a few times a year…10 minutes here and 10 minutes there.
This is the quickest and simplest way to “make a portfolio” if you are really short on time! Of course, you may not feel the most organized and some things may get missed, but it does show a representation of the type of work your child did this school year.
Now…many many years later, I have become more organized and I have a few tips for putting together a portfolio that you can feel confident showing your assessing teacher and not break your back hauling every scrap of their work.
Each child in a family should have their own portfolio. Using a 1.5″ or 2″ binder to hold the items below is usually sufficient for an assessment. These items are not all required by law but are the types of things you may choose to include in a portfolio depending on your homeschool style and resources used.
12 Items to Include in an Easy Homeschool Portfolio Review
- Subject List
- Book List
- Field Trip List
- Video List
- Software List
- Photos to document learning
- Textbook Table of Contents
- Tests & Quizzes
- Report Cards
- Reading Logs
- Physical Education Log
- Learning Activities Log
Lastly but most important…DON’T STRESS!
It’s really not worth it. You did your best. If it wasn’t a great year, let it go. If it was, enjoy your moment. Having an organized portfolio helps me feel less stressed since I have so many to get done but I’ve literally thrown each kids stuff in their own old milk crates and let the teachers flip through that too.
When you meet with your reviewing teacher, separate each child’s work and you are ready to go. At the completion of your review, he/she will give you a signed form to turn to your school.
Your Portfolio Review Should Be Something YOU Can Feel Good About
Instead of stressing out, I look at a portfolio review as an opportunity to reflect on the year and celebrate the wins. Maybe you didn’t do as much math as you wanted…but your child’s reading took off! Maybe your teenager struggled to feel motivated, but they got a job and their driver’s license this year! Our children’s education is about SO MUCH MORE than academic work!
Even if you are not required to do a portfolio it can still be such a great way to capture your year!
Sarah McCubbin, founder of Ten Minute Momentum, is dedicated to helping parents confidently parent their kids by teaching life skills, social skills and leadership skills. As a child she was the kid that never quite fit in and is on a mission to help others understand the building blocks we all need to be successful adults. She lives in Ohio with her husband Mike, and 9 kids ranging in age from 5 to 21 where they use homeschool, private school and public schools for their kids education!
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